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thedrifter
03-16-07, 10:27 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Volunteers aim to raise $100,000 in 100 days
Campaign for injured Marines gaining momentum
By FRED SWEGLES
The Orange County Register

SAN CLEMENTE It seemed daunting: One man, out to raise $100,000 in 100 days, for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

James Birdsell, a 46-year-old lifeguard from San Clemente, began the campaign Feb. 18 as a 100-day countdown to Memorial Day. He asked others to join him.

Little by little, his ambitious hope is gathering momentum. "I always believe," he said.

The premise: If 100 people can raise $1,000 each, that's $100,000. Birdsell personally is sponsoring himself for $1,000 and gathering additional pledges from donors for his swimming or paddling 10 miles a day. He hopes to achieve 1,000 miles over the 100-day period.

So far he has about 20 other groups, individuals or businesses involved many of them doing their own "Miles for Marines" endeavors, mostly by soliciting pledges for feats performed or events held. Some people are sponsoring themselves.

"Brett Wolfe is doing a 100-mile bike ride, once a week, for 10 weeks," Birdsell said. "At Ole Hanson (the beach club), we're swimming 100, 100-yard swims. There's Ernie Johnson, who is riding his skateboard 10 miles, 10 times. Antoine (Price) is doing 50 sky dives, at two miles a sky dive. Ian and Kristina Schroeder will each run 100 miles before Memorial Day."

Birdsell said Andy Bailey is doing a water polo clinic, San Clemente Gym's Eric Lacy a weightlifting event, and a swim team swim-a-thon is in the works at San Clemente High School. Second Lt. Trevor Gibson is doing 70 miles a week of swimming, bicycling and running. Tracy Foote is organizing a car wash. Kerry Wakashige is walking her neighborhood picking up trash. Kyle Mochizuki and Eric Tremaine are doing stand-up paddleboarding. Antoine Price is doing walks and hosting a March 27 event at Antoine's Cafe. Nicole Gibson is organizing a 5K/10K run in Philadelphia. Rod Snyder will put on a swim-a-thon.

Others involved include Duke's Griddle 'N Grill, Rod's Tree Service, San Clemente Rentals, Keller Williams' "Keller Cares" and the board of directors of the Heritage of San Clemente Foundation, Heritage directors will not only give $1,000 but will make Miles for Marines part of a Memorial Day music fest at 2 p.m. Monday, May 28, at the Marine Monument in Park Semper Fi.

"We are really pleased with the overwhelming response that we have been getting," said Doreen Ingino, who is working with Birdsell, is a participant (swimming) and has designed a "Miles for Marines" logo for the endeavor.

To learn more, participate or donate directly, visit www.milesformarines.com.

fswegles@ocregister.com or 949-492-512

Ellie